In senior living communities, resident safety is of the utmost importance. An often-overlooked aspect of resident transportation is the proper use of wheelchair footrests. Despite their simple function, footrests play a crucial role in preventing injuries and ensuring comfort during transportation.

Improper wheelchair use can lead to injuries in senior living facilities. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), incidents such as falls, skin tears, and musculoskeletal injuries can occur when residents are not securely positioned in their wheelchairs. CMS guidelines underscore the importance of adhering to industry standards to mitigate these risks.

Maintaining proper posture and sustaining sufficient strength can be challenging for many residents during wheelchair transportation. Without footrests, they are at risk of falls and injuries. By conducting thorough risk assessments and integrating footrests into personalized care plans, staff can identify residents in need of support during transportation, thereby reducing the likelihood of accidents.

Staff training is key in ensuring consistent and appropriate use of wheelchair footrests. Facilities can manage liability risks associated with accidents by educating staff on proper use and the importance of footrests in preventing injuries and promoting resident comfort. To encourage staff members to prioritize the use of footrests, senior living communities can implement regular reminders, incorporate footrest usage into standard operating procedures, utilize storage bags on the back of the wheelchairs, and provide ongoing training opportunities. Recognizing and rewarding staff members who consistently adhere to safety protocols can further incentivize compliance.

By fostering a culture of safety and upholding industry standards, facilities can safeguard the well-being of residents and mitigate liability risks associated with resident transportation.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). (n.d.). Nursing Home Data Compendium 2015 Edition. Retrieved from

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